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Candidate Lee Proposes Talks with President

Posted October. 18, 2002 22:44,   


On Oct. 18th, presidential candidate of Grand National Party Lee Hoi-chang proposed to President Kim Dae-jung that they should meet to discuss North Korea`s nuclear weapons matter.

Candidate Lee made the proposal in a special press conference held at GNP` headquarters. At the conference, he said, “I think I should meet Mr. President as the presidential candidate of the majority party. When I meet with the president, I will discuss with him various cooperative measures to cope with North Korea`s nuclear problem. For example, we could set up a bipartisan organization and build up a database to share the information and intelligence regarding the nuclear problem.”

Then, he demanded that North Korea should prove its “nuclear transparency” by, for example, accepting the inspection by the IAEA, and should perform all the terms of the Geneva Agreement and the Joint Statement between North and South. He also contended, “The government should put the nuclear weapons problem of North top on the list of the agenda to be discussed at the Oct. 19th minister-level talks between North and South. Then, it should make a strong demand for North`s giving up of its nuclear program.”

Furthermore, Lee stressed, “If North Korea fails to take these responsible measures, we will overhaul all of our North Korean policies. Consequently, the light-water reactor project cannot help but to be discarded. The Sunshine policy, which emphasizes only the exchange and cooperation, shall not be continued any longer. On the other hand, Mt. Kumkang project may be continued, but the cash payment and government subsidies to this project shall be discarded.”

On the same day, Roh Moo-hyun, the presidential candidate of Millennium Democratic Party, also made a similar suggestion to all political parties and the Blue House. He suggested that all parties` presidential candidates and the president should get together to find out possible solutions of North Korea`s nuclear weapons problem. He said, “In the face of a problem which might determine the future of our nation and people, it only gets our citizens agitated and anxious for political parties to fight with each other. It will not help us solve the problem, either. To solve this problem, the most important thing to do is share the accurate information and intelligence.”

He added, “The cooperation between the government and parties in coping with this matter will most efficiently prevent a crisis from developing on the Korean Peninsula, and relieve the anxiety of the public.”

Candidate Lee, however, showed a negative response to Roh`s suggestion. He said, “[What I have proposed] is not a meeting of the president and all the other candidates.”

President`s Chief Press Aid Park Sun-sook commented, “It`s desirable to cope with North Korea`s nuclear weapons problem with all parties participated. That is what Mr. President has stressed over and over. For now, however, no candidate has made an official proposal to us. Thus, it is too early to talk about the official position of us. However, I think it is necessary to consider how and when the meeting, if any, should take place.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com